Wednesday, October 29, 2003

An attempt to revitalize the Falcon Forum

The Falcon editors today try to push students to participate in the Falcon Forums. Good luck, guys. As long as your paper sticks to reporting fluff that no one cares about, as long as the Opinions section writes weak articles that don't argue for a particular position, much less discuss controversial topics and as long as you continue to prevent your writers and staffers from participating, you won't get much participation in the Falcon Forums.
"We believe that participation in the Falcon Forum is low mainly for two reasons. The first being that most students are unaware it even exists; the second, that those who are aware find its atmosphere hostile."
I can't speak to how many students are aware of the Falcon Forums, because not only have I not done any polling, but I'm rarely on campus and don't have a feel for the collective student body. But as to the second proposition, I find it fairly ludicrous. Many internet forums exhibit as much or more hostility at times between members as the Falcon Forums do and it doesn't cause them to have poor rates of use. I do commend the Falcon for wanting to clean up the forums a bit and make sure discussions are more on point, but that won't do anything to solve their real problem of reader apathy and disinterest. Take note of the Opinions page in this week's issue. Not even one letter to the editor. If students, alumni, faculty and staff are so disinterested as to not even write a letter to the editor, how the editors of the Falcon expect booming participation in the forums just by mentioning it in their Staff Editorial? Write about something that people care about and disagree on. That will spark discussion. Promising a clean, safe discussion of boring topics and non-issues won't interest anyone.

KCI Webpage Up

As announced in the Corner, the Krugman Cat Altitude Index is now available on the web. The first link in this post explains how it works and how it came about. Tell your friends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Organic Food Can Be Dangerous

Interesting article (link from AL Daily) about how organic food can be more dangerous than genetically modified foods, in more ways than one. It's a long article, but worth reading.

The author makes an interesting case that the drive behind organic food is linked to wealthy snobbery and the fetishization of the inferior as superior because of scarcity. The scarcity, of course, comes about because it has been superseded and is in less demand because it is inferior. The first third of the article is devoted to outlining and explaining this phenomenon. Worth reading if you're interested in the GM foods debate.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Stop the Presses! Michael Moore is insensitive!

Whatever one thinks of Michael Moore's politics (and believe you me, I don't think much of them), this is really low.

He offered a showing of his Bowling for Columbine to the parents of children at Columbine, but insisted that they pay admission like everyone else. In other words, it wasn't enough to make a few bucks off of the grief of others, he literally wanted their money too.

For all the denouncing of capitalism, he's one of the most effective (and greedy, it seems from this story) capitalists going. Marxist, overthrow thyself.

Sapp is a moron

Sapp is an ass (in the more archaic sense of the word). It's tough to find much on his "slave master" comments at either Yahoo Sports or ESPN online for reasons that aren't clear to me. But a Google search brought up this story from CBS. (2nd topic)

Sapp, (after he and another player traded words before a game via the media) referred to the NFL commisioner as a "slave master" with the obvious implication that he and other players are the slaves. I didn't think much about this at first beyond that it was Sapp running off at the mouth without thinking; not out of the ordinary at all for him.

But I just saw him on Sportscenter talking to Michael Irvin and refusing to back down from his comments about being a slave despite it being pointed out that his "slave masters" pay him millions of dollars to play a game once a week. He insisted that since the media didn't actually have his job, they couldn't say that it wasn't slave labor. This is so ridiculous as to almost bar belief. Simply because the league has restrictions on what behaviour is acceptable, and bars one from making contact with officials, abusing officials verbally and insists on players showing each other a modicum of respect while on the field doesn't make you a slave. You've got a lot more freedom to criticize your employers and misbehave than we poor schmucks who work at real jobs do, Mr Sapp.

With inanity coming from your mouth reaching this level, I think that you may be suffering permanent damage from being hit in the head a few too many times whilst on the field. Maybe you oughta hang 'em up before you start wearing tinfoil and ranting about little green men, Mr Sapp.

Shaq-Kobe Feud

I'm doing a fair bit of gloating over sports teams I don't like, but that's okay. Shaq and Kobe are at each other's throats again. Shaq says Kobe needs to pass more, Kobe says he won't change anything. Shaq says the Lakers are his team.
"Asked to clarify his "my team" remark, O'Neal added: "Everybody knows that. You [media] guys may give it to [Bryant] like you've given him everything else his whole lifetime, but this is the Diesel's ship. So ... if you ain't right [physically], don't be trying to go out there and get right on our expense. Use the people out there, then when you get right you [can] do what you do."
Keep on fightin', ladies. Maybe you'll miss the playoffs completely this year.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Yankees Lose World Series

Ah. An outcome that warms the cockles of my heart. Knowing that the Yankees came up short again this year shows that God is in His heaven, and all's right with the world. The best part? The schadenfreude from all the disappointed Yankee fans.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

CD (non)Protection

Downloading the latest version of WinAmp when this story caught my eye. It seems that SunComm's "copy" protection is rather easily circumvented.

"Quite simply, by holding down the shift key when accessing a CD in Windows, the encryption software designed by SunComm to encrypt the contents of that compact disk simply fails to ever execute."

The CD won't work at all on a Mac or Linux machine, however. Too bad.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Homosexual Anglican Unrepentant

An article from the Washington Times about the upcoming consecration of Canon V. Gene Robinson. He offers some weak and contradictory rebuttals to crticism from others in the Anglican Communion, but the key to the article is in the last couple paragraphs.
"Canon Robinson says scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality will be reinterpreted just like remarriage after divorce was.
'We take Scripture seriously, but not literally,' he said. 'Scripture says to be remarried after divorce is adultery, but in this country, we put tradition together with our own experience of formerly married persons who have found a second marriage to be a blessing.
'We went against Scripture and 2000 years of tradition by relaxing those rules and allowing remarriage. We used our own experience and reason to come to that conclusion.'"
1 Corinthians chapter 3: 18Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; 20and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."

Bite Me

Actually, don't. Interesting article on cannibalism. I don't agree with the morally ambivalent tone that implies that there is nothing really wrong with eating the dead beyond societal disapproval, but it is informative when arguing with people that subscribe to Arens' theory that cannibalism is a myth. Had an discussion about this online with some people a few months ago. It would have been handy to have this article to refer them to.

Via AL Daily.

This is your brain on logic...

This was sent to me by a friend. It's rather funny, especially since I just commented on Prince's lack of logic a minute ago. I thought The Emperor's New Groove was pretty funny though.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

NRODT Comments on Seattle Newspapers

"NEWS ITEM: “Washington governor Gary Locke’s trip to China bore its first fruit Monday with news that a Kent-based printing-press maker signed a contract worth $11 million a year with the People’s Daily newspaper, the Communist Party organ.” Hmm . . . well, the People’s Daily might be to the right of the Seattle papers."

Nov 10 issue of NRODT (online access requires subscription)

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Nuclear Musings

Gabriel Schoenfeld, writing at Opinion Journal, has a somewhat disturbing article about the proliferation of nuclear weapons to rogue states and what can be done about it. It's a long article and a fair amount of time is spent outlining the dangers. The conclusions reached about what can be done? Pre-emption is the nicest option that he suggests is feasible. Our options are somewhat messy wars overseas, or the eventual terrorist use of a nuclear weapon on our shores. He also slips in a small plug for missile defense, but notes that, while useful, it is not a cure-all. Essentially, we're in a tight spot, but most people don't realize it. If we wait for that realization to dawn upon the populace at large, it will be too late to do much of anything about it.

Pulitzer Should Be Revoked

The AP reports that Mark von Hagen, an historian from Columbia University hired by the New York Times, has concluded that the Pulitzer the Times received for Walter Duranty's reporting in 1932 on the Soviet Union should be revoked. Why? Duranty lied and deliberately falsified information in his reports in order to make them more favorable. He covered up information that showed that the famine in the Ukraine was caused deliberately by Stalin as a punitive measure.

Studies Show Homeschoolers Better Than Everyone Else

Okay, not quite that, but we are pretty darn cool. Among other things, we're more likely to attend college, be politically active, vote, read, volunteer, attend religious services, be content personally, professionally and financially, be psychologically healthy, and finally to credit success as being due to hard work rather than simple lucky breaks.

If you're wondering about whether homeschooling is a good idea, you need to read this article. The study the article was based upon was conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute. Unsurprisingly, "[a]n NEA spokesman yesterday said the organization had no comment on the NHERI study." Why unsurprising? Because it's hard to square with the resolution passed by the National Education Association (NEA) at its national convention declaring that "home-schooling programs cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience." Yeah? Bull.

The NEA is really simply threatened by the more and more obvious demonstration that parents at home are able to do what professional teachers are increasingly unable to do: Prepare children for adult life by educating them. And, homeschoolers make the claim that schools need more money to be successful even more ludicrous than it already is. Parents homeschooling their children don't have near the money available to them that school districts have, and yet homeschoolers consistently outperform students from government schools.

You want your children to get ahead in life? Don't send them to a government school.

Palestinians Support Terrorism Regardless of Israeli Concessions

An interesting poll conducted by Public Opinion Research of Israel and The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion shows that there is strong Palestinian support for continued terrorist attacks on Israelis even if the Palestinians gain statehood. And that's even if the Palestinian state incorporates all of the Gaza strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Link via The Corner.

The first thing to do is to kill all the lawyers

Andrew Peyton Thomas is pretty down on lawyers over at NRO yesterday. And I must say that I agree. Defense lawyers are scum.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Yankees Charged

AP reports that Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia are going to charged with assault and battery for their fight with Paul Williams, grounds keeper at Fenway Park. Gotta love those Yankees.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Sports Dunce Carps

Geoffrey Norman ought to take a page from Larry Miller's book next time he writes a column about baseball. Instead of carping and moaning about how things used to be so much better in baseball. Mr Norman, leave the complaining about the DH for a column about the DH. Saying that wild cards "Wild cards are for poker and, even then, only in moderation" convinces no one of anything except your desire to turn a phrase. Sure, you go on to say that "Anybody can get lucky in a seven-game series" but then where's your argument for a longer set of playoff games between division winners and a longer series? If the Yanks beat the Marlins are we going to read your opinion that it was because they got lucky over seven games?

In fact, Mr Norman, just about every column you've written for NRO has been to whine about something. Rush on ESPN, too many football games, the Super Bowl is boring (covered that twice), car racing is boring and only interesting to red-neck hicks and now it's baseball that is deserving, not of your ire, because that's too strong a word, but of your scorn and yawns. Is there anything about sports that you actually like, or do you keep up with it simply to have fodder for columns of derision? Ah, yes. You worship at the altar of Jordan. You slide into the trap of believing him the best basketball player of all time, when he's really the most self-serving player of all-time. Ignore the fact that his supporting cast with the Bulls did far more to carry him than vice versa and witness the petulance he displayed when he tried to collect all the accolades in DC and give all the blame to his teammates. The greatest player ever? Oscar Robertson. Perhaps he didn't win as many titles, but he not only had the talent he made other around him better as well.

Oratory and Everyday Speech

Interesting book review from the Washington Post. Don't agree quite with the poke taken at Bush. My opinion is that making fun of public figures for slips of the tongue is just silly, regardless of their political persuasion. After all, if I had someone following me around with a microphone recording everything I said, there would be plenty for people to mock. Anybody who speaks in public as much as politicians do deserves a break.

This ties in with my dislike of the common internet practice of never capitalizing, foregoing punctuation and not bothering to spell words properly. It's not that difficult to proof-read, use the "Shift" key, and use commas, periods and question marks from time to time. Honestly, when I read something that starts "i wnet 2 the mall yestreday me and beth were going 2 get some new shoes" I stop reading, presume the person can be no more than 10 years old and will dismiss out of hand any opinion written in such a manner because the person writing it obviously is uneducated, illiterate and has no desire to pursue anything with any sort of intellectual rigor. Which is perhaps not always true, but that is certainly the impression that is left.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Great Line

One of Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus today was quite funny.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel — the ex-ballet dancer and former Clinton aide — had T-shirts made up mocking the Bush administration's request for $87 billion to be spent on Iraq. (Don't ask — about the T-shirts.) Stuart Roy, a spokesman for Rep. DeLay, quipped, "We gave America a liberated Iraq and a deposed terrorist dictator, and all we got from the Democrats was this lousy T-shirt."

More Football Violence

Actually no new violence, but an update on an incident that took place a while ago. AP is reporting that Bill Romanowski is being sued the teammate that he punched in practice.

In the case of the Nebraska player who clocked a fan last week, it seems that he'll be suspended for one whole game! I suppose that I shouldn't be too surprised since the Mad Choker of OSU only got a one game suspension, but somehow I thought that an assault on a fan would have been treated more seriously. The lesson that these light taps on the wrist give athletes is that they can get away with things simply because they are athletes. Then you end up with Romanowski and Kobe Bryant. Romo punches teammates in practice and Kobe has sex (whether consensual or not still to be determined) with a teenager-not-his-wife and they don't expect negative consequences or don't even stop to consider what the consequences may be.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

UN Approves US Resolution On Iraq

The UN approved the US resolution for Iraq, but Germany, France and Russia all said that they weren't going to contribute any troops nor would they supply any money for the reconstruction of Iraq. Heard the story on BBC World Service and the German and French foreign ministers emphasized that their countries and Russia had approved the measure not because they supported the US efforts in Iraq, but because they wanted to bring the international community together and make a show of unity.

I was amazed. Not only is this an admission of their lack of strength to pursue their own course in opposition to the US in any practical way for any length of time, but they were also admitting that they had no interest in helping the Iraqis unless it was done their way! The war is over. Iraq is being rebuilt. There's no way to alter that. And still the French, the Germans and the Russians won't do anything to help. But they did sign economics deals with Saddam when he was in power that were to go into effect once sanctions were lifted. How can anyone not understand? The US is spending blood and treasure to rebuild Iraq. It will make us safer, the world safer, the Iraqis safer and give the Iraqis better lives. France, Germany and Russia are holding out because all they're interested in is their bottom lines. The almighty ruble and euro.

And I thought I loathed the Yankees already...

This series has made me hate Yankees fans even more. The ludicrous defense of Don Zimmer as being the aggrieved party when he was the one who charged out of the dugout and tried to hit a player 40 years his junior. Pedro did the kindest thing he could, pushed him to the ground where he could come to his senses about what he was doing before he ran into someone who wouldn't respect his age and frailty and do something that really hurt him.

And sour-puss Nelson, who sulked his way off the M's at the end of the year apparently felt the need to prove he was as bad as the rest of his teammates by jumping a groundskeeper. Well, in addition to the ongoing criminal investigation the groundskeeper has a lawyer and plans to sue. Good. Hit Nellie where he'll feel it most.

A Reasonable Look at the Science of Climate Change

An interesting article from the Wilson Quarterly about the facts of "global warming". It points out that the world is getting warmer, though very slightly, and that the reasons for the increase in temperature are unclear. It also goes on to note that the effects of global warming may not be as dire as predicted and could even have a net benefit for humanity as whole. Long article, but interesting.

Via AL Daily.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Reds in Space Not a Threat

So argues Rand Simberg on NRO today. His perspective is that this space program of the Chinese, putting astronauts (or "taikonauts" as the ChiComs call them) in orbit is based on building national prestige and will only have a small, short-term positive effect, but will be a resource drain in the long term.

Key para:
"Similarly, as during the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese government is wasting valuable state resources on a circus that may, in the short run, provide some small bit of national pride to a government that is stealing those same resources from a people to whom it's unaccountable, but will not significantly contribute to the wealth of their nation. Ultimately, the only way to do that is to harness free enterprise to the task."

Bruce Lee and Derb

John Derbyshire on National Review Online has a very interesting article about his experience acting a bit part as a thug in a Bruce Lee film. I have to say, I fall into the camp of people who think this is very, very cool.

Great excerpt from the article: "You have not savored the full subtlety of Bonanza until you've seen it dubbed into Cantonese. (Hoss: "Mou dung! Ying-dak ngo ma?" Villain: "Mou da! Mou da!"... etc., etc.)"

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Saw Kill Bill this weekend. I enjoyed it, but didn't think it was a great movie. It was better than his work in Pulp Fiction, and much better than Reservoir Dogs (which I loathed). I think that perhaps a large part of the reason that Kill Bill appealed so much was the samurai references and the manga feel to the movie. I'm a fan of those things and find them interesting.

I also thought that Jonathan Last's comments on the film were the best I've read so far. Thomas Hibbs is also worth reading.

10 Common Mistakes Made By Writers

Everyone who writes should read this.

Via AL Daily.

Fascinating Article on the Politics of Agatha Christie

Don't agree with all of the author's conclusions, but still an interesting read nonetheless. I must say, I'm glad that I can claim Dame Agatha as one of us.

Via AL Daily.

BoSox Win!

Red Sox won yesterday to even the series at two games apiece. There's another game in Boston today before the series moves back to New York for Game 6 and the possible Game 7. Hopefully Boston's starting pitching will stiffen up and their bats will heat up over the next couple games. If the Cubbies can win once at home tonight or tomorrow (which they have an excellent chance of doing since they're sending Mark Prior to the mound tonight and Kerry Wood tomorrow) and the BoSox and pull it out, we'll be all set for the World Series that baseball fans everywhere will enjoy. Well, everywhere but NY and Fla.

Iraq Had More Weapons Than Previously Thought

This report from the UPI says that the US Army has revised its estimate of Iraq's weapon stockpiles up to "nearly a million tons of weapons and ammunition, which is half again as much as the 650,000 tons" that was estimated a mere two weeks ago. Which means that what was said here about how long it may take inspectors to find those WMDs goes double.

Husky Disappointment and Other Football Thoughts

Well, my beloved Huskies dropped the ball Saturday. Beat 28-17 and they got whupped more than the score indicates. They won't be making back to the Top 25 this year, and only a die-hard fan's hope keeps me from giving up on the Apple Cup this year.

A couple of my least favorite teams gave me more reasons to dislike them this weekend. OSU's linebacker choking Wisconsin's quarterback after tackling him and he's only suspended for one game? But the more egregious matter is that of the Nebraska CB, Kellen Huston, that punched and knocked out the Missouri fan after the game had ended. He oughta be brought up on assault charges and kicked off the football team. That was way out of line. And I've seen the tape. The fan gets decked and drops like a ton of bricks. Way to go, guys.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Iraq Returning to Normal

Iraq is returning to normal despite opposition by some Iraqis who opposed the overthrow of Saddam continuing to resist and despite foot-dragging from segments of the Iraqi population. Story from CBS here. Key para (near bottom of article):
"Look at how far we've come, much further than anyone would have expected," Bremer told ABC. "We're back at prewar levels in power, we're back at prewar levels in water, the schools are open, the hospitals are open, and we're really making tremendous progress here."
Link via The Corner.

May God Have Mercy On Us

I was shocked, sickened and filled with revulsion after reading this. A baby that is completely out of the womb, not even with the head still in the birth canal as in Partial-Birth abortions, a child that is crying, moving and obviously alive, can be legally killed by the mother in whatever manner she chooses without legal consequence as long as the umbilical cord is not cut. That's what Illinois judges ruled. Here is the consequeces of unchecked abortion. What's next? The redifintion of the phrase "established a separate and independent life" that the judges said was the standard to mean children that can feed themselves without having to be nursed or hand fed by their parents? And then to children up to 18 who can support themselves financially? Even to the most hardened abortion advocates, it should be obvious that this is infanticide.

May God have mercy on our souls for allowing this to come to pass.

Link via The Corner.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Falcon Forums Fading?

The anonymous (to me at any rate) BRICHP is claiming that it's time to have the Falcon Forums go away. Why? Because he doesn't think that Prince, Piper, mrmando and myself should be provided a forum where we can criticize the Falcon so easily. He's doing it for the children... er, Falcon staff so that their fragile psyches won't be damaged. But it's not censorship! He wants to make that clear. It is censorship even though he doesn't realize it. I agree with his conclusion, but not his reasoning. If you're connected to SPU, check it out.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Is Painting Dead?

Interesting article from The Spectator about whether painting is a dying art form. Interesting read. I especially liked the parenthetical statement in the quotation below.
"The epic narratives of Matthew Barney, another acclaimed American artist, have stars, soundtrack, elaborate budgets, everything that feature films have except comprehensible plot and dialogue (and not all new releases at your local cinema have those either). Then there’s sound art, photo art, virtual-reality art and performance art. What can a caveman or an Old Master, armed with a palette and a few hog’s-hair brushes, do to compete?"
Thanks to the invaluable AL Daily.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

TNR Bends Over for the Saudis

It seems TNR has disinvited someone from their panel on "Saudi" Arabia because the Saudis didn't like him. It seems he's been critical of them, and they just can't handle that.

Link via The Corner.

Spectator on British Conservatives

The author thinks it's time to scrap the Conservative party. Don't agree with the whole story, but then I'm not that up on Brit politics.

Link via The Corner.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Too. Dang. Funny.

Rod Dreher and his talisman.

Goldberg on Sullivan

This post by Jonah Goldberg in the Corner points up another concern that I have with Andrew Sullivan. It seems to the me that he's trying to move the conservative ideal to the left on social issues, most specifically, towards the promotion of homosexuality as a societal norm that is unquestioned. Not only is this profoundly unconservative in both the political and apolitical senses of the word, but is very threatening to me as a Christian. As I blogged a little while back, Canada has already seen an increased "tolerance" (read, promotion) of homosexuality mandated by the government have frightening and real implications for both free speech and the free practice of religion. When I read Sullivan telling conservatives to lighten up and accept the "normalization" or some such of homosexuality, I see him asking me to be complicit in my repression on the basis of my religious beliefs. I doubt Goldberg would pitch it that strongly, but then he doesn't seem to have very strong religious beliefs to cause him the same worry.

Another Addiction Discovered

It seems that one can be addicted to just about anything, nowadays. We've long had alcohol addiction, narcotics addiction, etc. And more recently researchers have purported to discover sex and internet addictions. Well, in keeping with that last addiction, it seems now one can be addicted to text messaging on their mobile phone. See, I knew there was a good reason I refused to get a cell phone.

Link via The Corner.

Report to Congress on WMDs

Got a link to David Kay's address to Congress concerning the search for WMDs in Iraq. It's not quite the admission of failure that much of the media has made it out to be. Some relevant paragraphs are quoted below.
"Any actual WMD weapons or material is likely to be small in relation to the total conventional armaments footprint and difficult to near impossible to identify with normal search procedures. It is important to keep in mind that even the bulkiest materials we are searching for, in the quantities we would expect to find, can be concealed in spaces not much larger than a two car garage;...

"In searching for retained stocks of chemical munitions, ISG has had to contend with the almost unbelievable scale of Iraq's conventional weapons armory, which dwarfs by orders of magnitude the physical size of any conceivable stock of chemical weapons. For example, there are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined. As Iraqi practice was not to mark much of their chemical ordinance and to store it at the same ASPs that held conventional rounds, the size of the required search effort is enormous. ...

"ISG has gathered testimony from missile designers at Al Kindi State Company that Iraq has reinitiated work on converting SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missiles into ballistic missiles with a range goal of about 250km. Engineering work was reportedly underway in early 2003, despite the presence of UNMOVIC. This program was not declared to the UN. ISG is presently seeking additional confirmation and details on this project. A second cooperative source has stated that the program actually began in 2001, but that it received added impetus in the run-up to OIF, and that missiles from this project were transferred to a facility north of Baghdad. This source also provided documentary evidence of instructions to convert SA-2s into surface-to-surface missiles."

Monday, October 06, 2003

Fox Sports Inanity

Just watching the A's/BoSox on Fox and Manny just hit that three-run homer. So what do the commentators talk about? How this will make it hard for the A's to come back against Pedro? Whether a three-run lead is enough for the Sox bullpen if they come in with an inning or two to play? No, they talk about how Manny Ramirez was insulting by walking to first base. Okay, sure, I guess. But then one of them is crazy enough to claim that this walking-to-first-admiring-your-homer is a recent innovation, and that the games used to be more mannerly and not about "showing up" the other team or player. Baking powder? Exsqueeze me? Players used to get away with a lot more than they do now in the way of insults (Cobb used to insult Ruth with racial slurs), cheap shots (defensive players would impede runners by holding belts, baserunners would drive their spikes into legs when sliding) and let's remember the most famous example of insulting chutzpah: Babe Ruth's "called shot". The man pointed and admired before he hit a home run. Bottom line, Fox sportscasters, learn your history or shut your yap.

Why I'm Cheering for the Cubs/BoSox

Phil Taylor sums it up nicely. We want the Cubbies or the Sox to win because we want their fans to shut up already! The M's haven't won the World Series since... ever. And I don't go around talking about curses and jinxes and opportunities missed 20 years ago.

The Horrors of Soviet Communism

Just finished reading Anne Applebaum's Gulag: A History. A masterly work. I started to write "a wonderful book", but decided that wasn't quite right. The book is shocking, saddening and terrible in large part, and though there are moments of triumph for individuals and for freedom, it is mostly a tale of the cruelty, repression and violence committed by the Soviets against their own citizens and foreigners that were unlucky enough to be ensnared.

The book is a well-written, insightful and damning indictment of the concentration camp system of the USSR that was known as the gulag. While there is a (reasonably) happy ending, in that the gulag is no more, the book ends with a fairly sad note. In the epilogue, Ms Applebaum notes that there has been a dearth of closure, if you will. Those who committed atrocities have not been brought to account. There are few memorials to remeber the dead and those imprisoned. The government agencies that were responsible for the gulag have not been reined in, investigated, nor their powers limited except in the barest essentials.

A couple relavent quotations:
"Already, we are forgetting what it was that mobilized us, what inspired us, what held the civilization of "the West" together for so long: we are forgetting what it was we were fighting against."

"Very few people in contemporary Russia feel the past to be a burden, or as an obligation, at all. The past is a bad dream to be forgotten, or a whispered rumor to be ignored."

"Vladimir Putin was a former KGB agent, who proudly identified himself as a "Chekist". Earlier, when serving as Russian Prime Minister, Putin had made a point of visiting KGB headquarters at Lubyanka, on the anniversary of the Cheka's founding, where he dedicated a plaque to the memory of Yuri Andropov."

"There have also been consequences for the formation of Russian civil society, and for the development of the rule of law. To put it bluntly, if scoundrels of the old regime go unpunished, good will in no way have been seen to triumph over evil. ... The secret police kept their apartments, their dachas, and their large pensions. Their victims remained poor and marginal. To most Russians, it now seems as if the more you collaborated in the past, the wiser you were."

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Activist Admits Double Standard

It seems that this is an article from the New Yok Post though it is at Yahoo!. (Found via The Corner.)
"She [Codepink activist Patricia Foulkrod] admitted that Bill Clinton's sexual peccadilloes were as inexcusable as Arnold's.

'The difference is that Clinton was so brilliant,' she said.

'If Arnold was a brilliant pol and had this thing about inappropriate behavior, we'd figure a way of getting around it. I think it's to our detriment to go on too much about the groping. But it's our way in. This is really about the GOP trying to take California in 2004 and our trying to stop it.'"

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Link Added

Well, since Chris Muir was nice enough to leave a comment after visiting, (because he noticed from Technorati that I had linked to his site a couple times in a post) I figured I should add him to my link bar. So I did.

RIAA Sued Over Amnesty

This is a couple weeks old, though I hadn't heard about it until just now when I found it browsing the web. It seems that the RIAA is being sued for offering their amnesty because, it is claimed, it is a "deceptive and misleading" attempt to get consumers "to incriminate themselves and provide the RIAA and others with actionable admissions of wrong-doing under penalty of perjury while members of the general public actually receive ... no legally binding release of claims and no actual 'amnesty' from litigation in return".

Link Added

Added a link to First Things, which I would subscribe to, if I had more money.

Things Heating Up in Korea

It seems the Reds have started increasing production of nukes. This has caused the South Koreans to refuse to help in Iraq for the indefinite future. The need to withdraw US troops from the Korean peninsula is yet more urgent.

Hugo Chavez: Nutso

CNN has an article about Mr Hugo Chavez (president of Venezuela) saying he wants "normal relations with the United States, relations based on mutual respect." And what has he done to try and persuade us of this?

Strengthened ties with Cuba and Libya, used OPEC to drive up oil prices, accused the United States of harboring Venezuelan "terrorists" plotting to kill him and accused the CIA of fabricating reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Not to mention suppressing the democratic processes of his country and greatly restricting free speech and the free press. Yeah. Just the kinda guy we want to cozy up to.

Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda

Just in case there's any more doubters about the connection between international terrorism and Saddam's Iraq, here's an article from The Weekly Standard.

Newspaper Edits Content of Pro-Life Letter

Found an article via The Washington Times that notes that the Chicago Tribune altered a particular phrase, "pro-life", every time it ocurred in a reader's letter to the editor. Instead of "pro-life", it read "anti-abortion". The paper did not inform its readers that the letter had been altered. Two other papers that printed all or part of the letter, the Sun-Times and the Daily Southtown, did not alter the text.

Essays and Essayists

Interesting article on essays and essayists from AL Daily. Personally I agree with this author. But I'm not sure if that's truly an objective intellectual position. I may have a fondness for the essay because that's really the only form of writing that I'm much of a hand at.

Frum on Canada

David Frum has a good "diary" entry today (or rather, yesterday) on Canada and its woes. Not only does it look like free speech and religious freedom are in danger of dying, but living standards aren't getting better very fast and crime is getting worse. Boy, the hits just keep on comin', don't they? First, bad weed, now this. What's next?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Limbaugh on McNabb

Well, if you're a sports fan, you've heard by now about Rush Limbaugh's comment on McNabb's lack of talent and why he's promoted as one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks. I want to make a couple points.

1. Rush made no racist remark about McNabb. He simply said that McNabb was overrated. Which is a perfectly legitimate, though debatable, opinion. I'm sure he won't be the first or last person to think so. Hey, even the fans in Philly have made a practice of booing McNabb. Surely they weren't doing that because they thought he was living up to his hype?

2. Greg comments that one of his coworkers thinks that politics should be left off the playing field. Well, it wasn't Rush that introduced them. The NFL fined the Lions for not interviewing a minority (read "black") candidate for their head coaching position before hiring Mariucci. This despite the fact that none of the several candidates they contacted would agree to be interviewed. Why does the NFL have this rule? They got strong-armed into it by Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Brite, er, PUSH coalition. Since the NFL mandates such racial rules, it isn't a stretch to think that McNabb is being promoted as a premier quarterback because he is black.

3. Bottom line, most QBs are overrated. Why? Because, more than any other sport, football is a team game. There are more players on the field and one time than in any other major sport, and every one is involved, in a significant way, every play. The real reason that McNabb is suffering is because of a sad-sack offense around him. Sure he's good, not that good, but good. Perfect example of what I'm saying? Jake Plummer. 4 games with Denver this year and he's got a 110 QB rating. How bad was it before when he was with Arizona? His career rating is 69.9. Is Jake magically better this year? No, but he's on a much better team.